The Riverkeeper: guardian of Bangladesh’ rivers
Sharif Jamil is the riverkeeper. In 2009 he started protecting the severely polluted Buriganga River, becoming Bangladesh' first riverkeeper. "We have to make people responsible for their own environment."
Sharif Jamil during his work as riverkeeper. Photo: Waterkeepers Bangladesh
Driving along the dike that separates the Buriganga river from capital Dhaka, on the one hand we see a lot of (illegal) river encroachment, and on the other hand, smelly blue-black bubbling swamps where the tanneries and textile factories discharge their waste water. A little further, a drain from the city connects to the Buriganga: pitch-black, with urban waste polluted water is discharged into the river here. It indicates the water quality of the Buriganga and other waters around Dhaka.
Keeping an eye on the water quality
Riverkeeper Sharif Jamil keeps a close watch on the condition of the Buriganga River, and aims to improve it. He identifies the sources of pollution, take samples and contacts the local population which he informs about the situation. He especially focuses on schools along the river to make children aware of the river's ecology. He also advises the government by taking part in various committees that deal with water management.
Both ENDS has known Sharif since 2007, when he received a Joke Waller-Hunter Initiative-grant. The grant helped him develop the leadership skills that he needs as a riverkeeper.
As riverkeeper, Sharif is part of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, which is globally committed to clean waterways where you can swim and fish. In 2013, he was still the only Bangladeshi waterkeeper, but was dreaming of a national waterkeepers network. And he succeeded: Sharif is now coordinator of the Waterkeepers Bangladesh network.
Waterkeepers are counterpower
People like Sharif and his colleagues, who work relentlessly and with passion for water conservation, are an important counterpower. Where no one else does, they show governments and businesses their responsibilities, provide solutions and help create support for them through their close links with local communities.
- More about the Strength of Counterpower
- Visit the websites of Buriganga Riverkeeper and Waterkeepers Bangladesh
Read more about this subject
Letter / 29 June 2022
OPEN LETTER to the European Commission concerning plant variety rights in the Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia
Today, 91 organisations and networks from around the world, including Both ENDS, sent a letter to the European Commission to urge the EU to stop including UPOV91 in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The main objective of UPOV91 is to further liberalise local seed markets.
This matter is urgent because currently, the EU and Indonesia are negotiating an FTA. Including UPOV91 in this FTA means that Indonesia will have to change its policies, which will take away the farmers' rights to:
- breed, save and exchange all seeds and other planting material
- participate in decisions concerning seed improvement/ breeding, selection, quality standards, pricing, production, distribution and diversity
- customary practice especially in regard to indigenous seed
- be protected from being sold fake and inappropriate seed
- have a true choice between the use of certified and seed from fellow farmer
- managed seed systems
In the context of the current acute food security crisis, UPOV91 is a further danger as millions of small farmers will be further at hunger risk.
News / 28 June 2022
On Tuesday 28 June, the Honduran organisation COPINH and the Global Justice Association filed a complaint with the public prosecutor in the Netherlands against Dutch development bank FMO. For COPINH, this is part of their continued efforts to bring to justice those involved in the murder of their leader Berta Cáceres. FMO financed the Agua Zarca project in Honduras in 2014. The new complaint is based on documents indicating that FMO's money has been used improperly.
Event / 19 June 2022, 12:30
Still, more funds are spent on the fossil industry than on sustainable solutions. Banks, pension funds, insurers and governments keep investing in fossil infrastructure which endangers people and the environment. Therefore we call on financial institutions to stop funding the climate crisis.
Join our "Stop Fossil Finance" block at the next climate march!
External link / 15 June 2022
Joint CSO call to all WTO Trade Ministers to not accept the current draft of Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement and demand a real Waiver
Event / 14 June 2022, 15:00 - 16:30
Both ENDS and the Land Portal Foundation invite you to the second webinar in the Whose Land? Inclusive Pathways to Land Governance series, which will focus on the opportunities and constraints of civil society organizations (CSOs) and local communities in advocating for more open land data and in harnessing its power for improved land governance.
News / 13 June 2022
Intellectual property law is regulated at various levels around the world. At the international level, intellectual property rights are mainly laid down within the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in trade agreements. But what does this in practice mean for us? With this infographic, we've visualized what happens when a holder of intellectual property rights - usually a big company - thinks his rights are being violated.
Despite the existence of many hydropower dams, foreign investments and large government spending on energy, and new plans for hydropower, oil and gas projects, the vast majority of rural Uganda still remains without electricity. Together with our local partners we are striving towards a sustainable energy strategy for Uganda that starts from the needs and wishes of local communities.
News / 10 June 2022
In a new Position Statement on Financial Intermediary (FI) Lending, Dutch development bank FMO argues for limited responsibility over the outcomes investments that are channeled through commercial banks, investment funds, and other financial intermediaries, representing by far the bigger sector of its portfolio. In doing so, FMO is undermining its development mission, including the protection of human rights and addressing the climate crisis. FMO intends to delegate these key responsibilities to its FI clients only, falling short of best practices of peer financial institutions. In a joint submission prepared by Both ENDS, Oxfam Novib, Recourse and SOMO, we argue that FMO can do much more to ensure the protection of human rights, the environment, and to measure the development impact of its indirect investments.
Letter / 10 June 2022
Both ENDS, SOMO, Oxfam Novib and Recourse sent in a submission to FMO's public consultation on its Position Statement on Financial Intermediaries. In this position statement, FMO only takes limited responsibility for the consequences of its investments through so-called financial intermediaries. We call upon FMO to publish a position statement that focuses on protecting human rights and the environment and take full responsibility for this.
Letter / 9 June 2022
Pesticide Action Network and 430 civil society and indigenous peoples organizations from 69 countries have sent a letter of concern to the 170th session of FAO council about the FAO partnership agreement with CropLife International.
CropLife International is a global trade association whose members are the world's largest agrichemical, pesticide and seed companies: BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC Corporation, Sumitomo Chemical and Syngenta. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) en CropLife International have started a partnership in 2020 to collaborate on pesticide use. We think that this partnership is incompatible with FAO's obligations to uphold human rights, directly counters any efforts toward progressively banning Highly Hazardous Pesticides, and undercuts the FAO and several Member States' support for agroecology and other transformative practices.
The letter asks the Council to review and end immediately the partnership agreement with CropLife International.
News / 9 June 2022
This week, Geneva will be the epicenter of world trade, as trade ministers and other representatives from around the world gather for the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference. Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, is present with a delegation. Our colleague Burghard Ilge is joining as an official member of the delegation, to represent civil society organisations. Colleague Fernando Hernandez will also travel to Geneva, to follow and try to influence the negotiations from outside the conference room together with other civil society organisations from around the world.
Event / 28 May 2022, 13:00 - 14:15
Afrikadag: Future of food and farming in Africa: the role for small-scale agroecological food production
Join us this Saturday the 28th of May for an inpiring session about the role of agro-ecology in the trasformation to a future proof food and farming system on the African continent (and beyond).
Blog / 27 May 2022
and Abigail Kyomuhendo*
This week the annual shareholder meeting (AGM) of TotalEnergies took place. Whilst the shareholders celebrated their profits, Ugandan people were being evicted from their lands, thousands of kilometers away, for Total's East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Press release / 25 May 2022
Award of export support for controversial project in Manilla undermines the Netherlands’ environmental and CSR ambitions
Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB announced yesterday that it is to provide export credit insurance worth 1,5 billion euros to Dutch dredging company Boskalis for a controversial land reclamation project in the Philippines. According to Dutch and international organisations, including Both ENDS, CARE Netherlands, IUCN NL, Kalikasan PNE and Oceana Philippines, the award of export credit insurance for this project runs contrary to the Netherlands' ambitions in the areas of environment and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
News / 19 May 2022
Both ENDS and 95 other organisations* today sent a letter to State Secretary for Finance Marnix van Rij and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher calling on them to implement the Glasgow Declaration in full. In this agreement, which the Netherlands and 33 other countries signed at the Glasgow climate conference, the signatory countries pledge to stop all public funding for fossil projects by the end of 2022.
Press release / 19 May 2022
122 CSOs warn signatory countries they have only six months left to meet COP26 commitment to end international public finance for all fossil fuels
Today, 122 civil society groups are releasing letters to eleven government signatories to the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition, laying out the actions they must take as soon as possible to meet their commitment. In this joint statement at COP26, 35 countries and 5 public finance institutions committed to end their international public finance for 'unabated' fossil fuels by the end of 2022, and instead prioritise their "support fully towards the clean energy transition."
Event / 18 May 2022, 10:45 - 12:15
UNCCD-COP15: Monitoring Tree Cover and Enhancing Decision Making Tools Across Africa’s Great Green Wall
Join us for an open space for a reflection and exchange on a new dataset, developed by WRI, to monitor regreening efforts, and its applications in the Sahel.
In the drylands of Africa, land degradation threatens the livelihoods of millions of people. Fortunately, there are promising initiatives emerging all over the continent that are turning the tide. Throughout the Sahel, for example, vast tracts of land along the Great Green Wall have been restored by local communities. They have nurtured the plants that spontaneously spring from the soil, protecting young sprouts from cattle and other hazards.
Event / 16 May 2022, 13:00 - 15:00
UNCCD-COP15: How funders can best support agroecological initiatives by local communities in drylands
Join our dialogue on how to set up more and better financial mechanisms that can support agroecological initiatives of local communities living in drylands.
The land degradation neutrality (LDN) response hierarchy of Avoid > Reduce > Reverse land degradation is an overarching principle for LDN implementation, which guides people in planning interventions to achieve LDN. The hierarchy articulates which interventions should be prioritised based on their potential to maximise the conservation of land-based natural capital, recognising that avoiding or reducing land degradation is generally more cost-effective than efforts to reverse past degradation. As value for money is highest in the Avoiding and in Reducing Land Degradation response, a smart way to spend money is to support sustainable land management approaches like agroecology that work with nature, not against it.
Event / 16 May 2022, 13:00 - 15:00
Join our event, providing space for an interactive discussion among COP15 participants on multi-actor collaboration and the financing of community-based restoration
Letter / 15 May 2022
Both ENDS Comments and recommendations on the Bank Group’s Environmental and Social Policy of the AfDB Integrated Safeguards System
This letter by Both ENDS to the African Development Bank is a comment written in reaction to a draft version published by the Bank of its Environmental and Social Policy as part of a formal public consultation held by the Bank. This comment was sent to the bank along a joint submission letter with other CSOs, and specifically responds to the overarching Policy.
The bank's flexible requirements for clients and national standards for risky projects dilute safeguards. Project approval should be predicated on specific and binding targets for compliance and reflect input from communities involved.